Turbulent Weather Events and Aircraft Operations: Implications for Aviation Safety at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Nigeria


This study examined turbulent weather conditions and their relationship to aircraft operations as well as the influence of dry and wet seasons on weather parameters of rainfall, thunderstorm and fog at the Port Harcourt International Airport.  The aim was to identify which weather parameter affects aircraft operations which entails flight delay, cancellation and diversion. Data on turbulent weather conditions (fog, thunderstorm and rainfall) were obtained from the Nigeria meteorological agency, and data on flight operations was similarly obtained from the operators of different airline (Arik air, Dana and Aero contractors). The study revealed that for all aspects of aircraft operations thunderstorm associates rainfall had significant relationship with aircraft operations, as it accounted for 90.4% variations in flight delays, (r = 0.951) at p>0.05, it also accounted for 89.68% variations in the case of flight cancellation with an r value of 0.947, thunderstorm in the case of flight divert accounted for 88.36% variation with an r value of 0.940 at p>0.05. Findings indicate that thunderstorm was the only turbulent weather parameter that significantly affected aircraft operations especially cancellation of flight. The study also revealed that seasons influences weather parameters. The study therefore recommends an algorithm designed to forecast turbulence models jet stream, mountain induced turbulence, and convective induced turbulence  to avert most especially flight cancellation which creates opportunity for losses

Keywords: Thunderstorm; Torrential Rainfall; Aircraft Operation; Flight Cancellation; Flight Diversion; Fog

Article Review Status: Published

Pages: 19-30 (Download PDF)

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